England Golf ambassador Justin Rose is set to inspire a new generation of players after winning the first Olympic gold for golf since the sport’s return to the Games after 112 years.
The Englishman said after his two-stroke triumph at Rio 2016: “I am proud to be able to say that felt better than anything I've ever won.
“I hope my win and the Olympics inspires people to get into golf, it truly is a sport for everyone, whatever your age or ability.
“Back at home England Golf, who supported me as I developed as a golfer, are working with clubs to encourage participation with beginner courses, taster lessons and special events and break down perceived barriers to playing," added Rose.
Golf is already England’s fifth biggest participation sport, with just over 1.1 million adults playing at least once a month – and it’s set to grow rapidly after Rose’s Olympic triumph.
England Golf’s Get into golf campaign – which is supported by Sky Sports – offers new and returning players an ideal way into the game with great value coaching from PGA professionals and an introduction to a sport which offers a good social life and many health benefits.
Just playing 9-holes of golf means players will walk two to three miles, take over 5000 steps and burn over 450 calories.
Rose says: “Golf is a great game for people looking to keep fit, as you don’t need to be an elite athlete to play. It is a game for everyone, of all ages or levels of fitness. It gets you out in the fresh air and doing some gentle, but effective exercise and can only help people looking to get or keep fit.”
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink added: “Justin’s wonderful win is a fantastic result both for him and for golf. I am certain it will inspire thousands of people to set out to follow in his footsteps and enjoy the great game of golf – and we are ready to help guide them on their way.”
He went on: “Everyone can play golf, there are no age limits and your ability doesn’t matter – golf has a handicapping system which irons out the differences between players and means everyone can play with each other.
“Golf clubs and driving ranges everywhere are working incredibly hard to attract people to the game and all it has to offer. It’s an excellent game to play with family and friends because there’s plenty of time for conversation on the course and a really good social life in the clubhouse
“But there are many myths around golf that we have to debunk. For example, people tell you that it takes all day to play. Nonsense! You can play 9 holes in 2 hours or whizz round a par 3 course in the same time. If you’re really strapped for time you can work well on your game in half an hour at the driving range or on the putting green.”
The Golf Express campaign promotes 9-hole golf to encourage busy people to play all the game in half the time. It recognises the paces of modern life and offers 9 hole formats that most golfers can conveniently fit into a busy schedule
Rose often plays 9 holes in practice and describes Golf Express as: “A great way to play all the game in half the time.”
As an amateur Rose was an England international and a top boy player, winning the U16 and U18 McGregor and Carris Trophies. He turned professional after the 1998 Open championship when he holed from the rough on the last to tie fourth and, in a stellar career, has won the US Open and, now, his Olympic gold.
He says: “I’m hoping that a great tournament in Rio will encourage kids all over the country go to their local club or range and start swinging a club. Golf is a game for everyone and I think that the Olympics will help make that point by getting more and more people playing.”
Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide.
Visit www.golfexpress9.org to find places to play 9-hole golf across the country through an online directory and to take advantage of special offers.